Outgoing M'rashtra, Haryana CMs blamed for Cong rout

Outgoing M'rashtra, Haryana CMs blamed for Cong rout

The knives are out for senior Congress leaders Prithviraj Chavan in Maharashtra and Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana, who are being blamed for taking the party to its worst-ever defeat in the just-concluded Assembly elections.

Chavan and Hooda now have to mollify their respective sets of detractors, to enable the Congress to maintain a united stand in the aftermath of its rout in Maharashtra and Haryana – two states where the grand old party had strongholds.

Party leaders in Maharashtra believe that Chavan failed to highlight the government’s accomplishments in the state during his four-year tenure as chief minister. “Chavan was too obsessed with attacking the NCP. Had we contested together, we would have won more seats,” a senior Congress leader said, regretting that the 15-year-old alliance between the two parties had broken.

In an interview to a daily on the eve of elections, the outgoing Maharashtra chief minister had regretted not being able to act against the accused in the Adarsh scam. Maharashtra state unit chief Manikrao Thakre and former revenue minister Narayan Rane attacked Chavan for scuttling the party’s prospects in the election.

In Haryana, meanwhile, party leaders pin the blame on the free-hand given to Hooda by the Congress leadership and former Union minister Kumari Selja, the party’s Dalit face, who was conspicuously absent during the election campaign.

Selja, however, believes that the only person to blame is the outgoing Haryana chief minister. “I think Hooda should own up responsibility because he enjoyed total and absolute power for the past few years,” Selja told television channels.

She alleged it was because of Hooda that senior Haryana leaders like Rao Inderjeet Singh and Chaudhary Birendra Singh quit the Congress to join the BJP. Party leaders largely attribute the party’s loss in Haryana to non-Jat voters rallying behind the BJP, which won a simple majority on its own for the first time in the state.

At a party briefing, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said the party would now introspect and ascertain the reasons for the defeat. “All senior leaders will be consulted and their views will be considered,” the party spokesman said when asked to comment on Selja’s outburst.

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